Friends of Blessed Sacrament,
On Easter Tuesday, I traveled to the Texas Capitol and testified before the Texas House Committee on Public Education in support of HB 4340 which provides Parental Choice in education. This bill, supported by the Texas Conference of Bishops, would provide an Educational Savings Account (ESA) for families, especially the poor and vulnerable.
It was a long day of listening and waiting, but I was able to go before our representatives and speak on the public record. I was able to take up the entire two minutes allotted to witnesses! As a Catholic School, we will never cease promoting our parents as the primary educators of their children. Below is the public testimony provided.
I also invite you to read the following Parental Choice information so that together we can become an informed electorate that can seek the best opportunities for our children.
- Parental Choice Priorities for 88th Legislature Outlined by the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops
- A Road to Parental Choice in Education – An Overview of HB 4340
- House Bill 4340 – A House Bill Introduced by Representative James Frank
In service to the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament,
My name is Michael Fierro and serve as Principal of Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. This morning, I am testifying in support of HB 4340 providing families with the opportunity to choose the educational environment that is best for their family.
One of our core principles as a Catholic school is that parents are the primary and principal educators of their children. Therefore, parents must be given the right to choose an educational environment that is best for their children and families whether it is public, charter, private, homeschool, or a faith-based. Parental Choice legislation such as HB 4340 would extend opportunities for families in neighborhoods where educational choices may be limited.
I remain committed to meeting with every prospective family who is looking at Blessed Sacrament as their choice in school. My very first question in our informational meeting is, “What are you looking for in a school as a family?” Time and time again, parents answer by saying they are seeking something different. Either a school may not be providing the services they believe their child needs to succeed or the environment does not match their family’s core values and convictions.
Despite tuition assistance programs and the generosity of our benefactors, families remain discouraged because financial barriers prevent choice. Parents are left with hopes that perhaps one day, they will have that extra income or the right street address to give their children the educational equity they deserve or the ability to thrive in an environment that animates their family’s values. As a proud Texan, I know we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can help the challenges facing public schools while providing parental choice. Why does it have to be an either-or?
Today, you have a choice. You have the choice to extend educational opportunities to those who most need them or the choice to tell parents their hopes and dreams are just that, a list of hopes and dreams.
Please support HB 4340 and enable all Texas parents, especially the poor and vulnerable, to choose the best school for their children that allows them and their families to flourish.